Most brands and businesses devote money, time, and resources to growing their online following. There are often teams of people whose sole purpose is to create content and monitor social media accounts to increase fans, followers, and engagement. The goal, of course, is to turn that following into paying customers.
But what do you do when you amass a large following and you're not a business, or you're an individual who has inadvertently become his or her own brand? How can someone use their following to create opportunities for future income or employment?
I recently reconnected with a good friend from college. We were both broadcast communications majors who have since left the news business; she now runs communications and community relations at a Pennsylvania high school and I work on content strategy and production support for other businesses, plus have a YouTube channel on the side. She reached out to me after learning a promising student at her school had a huge following on social media and was making some decent money promoting other brands through his accounts. As he gets closer to graduation the school staff is eager to help him identify opportunities that align with his skills, and connect him with others who have had a similar path. We set up a Google Hangout so we could talk and share our thoughts on his unique situation.
After learning more about his trajectory and interests, my advice was to not only continue learning about traditional marketing and advertising—he clearly has a knack for it—but to really dig into the business and analytics side of social media marketing. My observation was that it appears the creative work comes naturally to him, so being able to speak about numbers and ROI (the stuff the finance folks and decision makers care about) could be a huge advantage for him and set him apart from others in his situation. Because he is often approached by national and international brands already, I encouraged him to reach out to local businesses and organizations in his hometown to talk to them about partnerships.
You don't have to live in New York City or Los Angeles to participate in influencer marketing and promotions. This goes for both local influencers and local businesses. Influencers and content creators are always looking for things to talk about, and businesses want authentic, personal promotion, so why not partner up?
The takeaway is to keep educating yourself—whether formally or on your own—about things that not only interest you but may be tangential or the seemingly opposite side of the coin of your interests. Think about the people or departments that you'll need to work with to be successful and learn more about their world. It will not only help you build better relationships, but help you put together a more effective strategy for working together because you'll understand their needs and objectives.
If you think you or your business could benefit from brand or content strategy consulting don't hesitate to get in touch!